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Problems with mystery disease in my flock.

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by jak2002003, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    I am loosing over 50 percent of my young pigeons to a disease.

    All the adults are healthy... lay eggs and raise squabs with no problems.

    Young birds leave the nest and get weaned.. then independent... still no problems.

    But a couple months later some of these young birds will suddenly get ill and die. This has been happening for about one year now!!!!!

    The only symptoms are that the bird suddenly becomes lethargic and stops eating and drinking.

    Once I see a bird like that I know it will be dead the next day or in a few days time.

    The birds seem in perfect health... no problems with poops or breathing.. not fluffed up and not sleeping. They seem bright eyed and alert and good body and feather condition. Then they will just stop eating and quickly waste away and have no energy.. too weak to even fly.. then die.

    If one is sitting on the perch.. just me picking it up can made is die in my hands in seconds.. when only one or two days ago it was lively and fit.. flying about.

    This is very upsetting for me.

    I have only had 2 birds recover from this sickness.. both without any help from me. I must have lost over 30 youngsters to this disease.

    I have tried treating them with anti biotic for e coli infections.. and also isolating a sick bird and keeping it warm.. force feeding... etc.. but this had no effect.

    The coop has been cleaned out many times and its always very clean with a deep layer of dry sand on the bottom.

    They are fed 2 X a day in a special feeder so no seed get poop on it... and the water is changed 2 times a day and has apple cider vinegar in it several times a week.

    They get grit, mixed pigeon seed, chickens layer pellets... and are free range for several hours each afternoon.

    I have taken a few sick birds to the vet... but it just ended up costing me a great deal of money and the birds still died.

    I have introduced new adult birds from a friends loft a few months ago.. and these did not get sick.

    Any experienced pigeon fanciers have any advise about this?

    I have stopped all breeding again now as I can't stand loosing any more birds.. they are fancy breeds and pets.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Only thing I would possibly change is the dry sand on bottom to possibly course gravel, so to eliminate the possibility that they are inhaling fine sand dust. I keep hay in the bottom of my loft.
  3. laughingdog

    laughingdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2011
    Newport Tennessee
    I had this in some of my flocks, and treated with: "probios" probiotics in feed, "poultry drench" vitamin drops down left side of throat, "vet Rx" drops done same as vitamins, and layer pellets put down mouth if need be, acv in water, and kept clean on wire. Is upper respiratory infection combined with one or two things that I forget what all was or how saw on here maybe how to treat, besides culling all adult breeder carriers. Wild birds, rodents, insects, and area soil, can all be later potential carriers also, unfortunately, from yours now, n why I keep off ground now. The ones I've always had on wire never got sick, but ones put in old pens on property moved to, go downhill quick at certain times.
    I've tried salmonella cocci etc meds n non worked chooks or them when it hits. I'm 99% sure its wild birds (small songbirds that nest above and next to those two pens at those times),.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  4. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2016
    Are you vaccinating for pigeon PMV? That's pigeon paramyxovirus.
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    No... but the birds show no symptoms of paramyxo virus disease.

    Stopped all breeding now... just one pair has 2 young in nest.

    The other young birds that was sick is one of the rare ones that has actually recovered over the last few days and its looking really good now.. back to eating and drinking and is active again.. even gained weight already.

    I will do an entire coop clean out and not allow any more breeding for several months. (was unlucky I found the pair with newly hatched squabs.. I wanted no young... but I will move their nest to a dog cage and house them away from the rest of the flock. I will then see what happenes to their youngsters once they mature. If they seem healthy I can put them back with the others.
  6. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2016
    If you haven't ever vaccinated, you may want to try. Because they don't all get the classic neurological form of the disease with the twisted necks, and sometimes they do just "waste away". Or take a really sick one to an avian vet to be put down and postmortemed. It sounds like you might lose your whole flock if it goes on.
  7. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    Thanks for the advise... I will seriously think about it.

    However... at the moment its only the young birds that get sick... and only about 50 percent of them. All the adults.. and the young that don't get sick are really healthy, strong, good flyers and very active.

    So I don't think I will loose the entire flock.

    I am living in Thailand.. and they are not big on keeping pigeons.. fancy or racing... and its very difficult if not impossible to get any medication for them... other than the standard poultry drugs.. and even these are very limited.. and some of the newer medications are not available here. Most farmers would just cull the flock and start again. But mine are pets really.. are its very very hard to get any new pigeons here... unless I go and collect some feral birds form the city.

    I had to develop my own 'breed' of pigeon from what I could get here... over 10 years.

    I really wanted white homing pigeons... but they don't exist here... or at least in very low numbers. No one in the entire city keeps racing pigeon.. only a few people in Bangkok which is 600 Km from my me!

    I got in contact with a few.. but they did not have any white birds.

    So in the end I found a pigeon squab farm.. got some white king pigeons. Crossed them with mostly white feral birds.. and from the offspring kept breeding the ones with the most white and pink beaks.

    I only bred the smallest birds together.. and the crosses were still big like the kings. In the end I got a lovely kind of pigeon...

    Its a bit bigger than a homing pigeon... and stand quite upright... lovely round big heads with big black eyes... very short tail.. and they are very good flyers.. unlike the kings meat birds.

    I also have a few Old Dutch Capuchin pigeons.. which I bred from only 2 females and one male.. a contact got them from Bangkok for me.. and they came up with him when he came to buy some chickens off me. I think it was these birds that bought the virus into my flock...

    because the problems started with their young.

    I will keep you all posted... but for now everything looks good.. and the one sick birds is recovered totally and flying again with the flock outside... where only a few days ago it could hardly stand up.
  8. Juliowsjl

    Juliowsjl New Egg

    Feb 1, 2016
    My best advise is this. I had homing pigeons and i had similar problems in the past. I dont know how u build ur coop but make sure it if big enough. A good size for 30 BIRDS is about 8×8 feet with minimum height at six feet. Make sure they dont sit on each other and build individual perch so they cant peck and fight. Build two coop if possible to devide young from breeders. Use medication such as esb4 or 4to1 pigeon midication powders. Bath your birds once biweek in worm weathers at 50 degrees plus with one tablespoon salt per two gallons. I did exact this and noon of my bird die. My uncle did not follow my advise and he lost at least 15 birds per year. I hope this helps.
  9. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    Thanks you for your advise.
    My birds have lots of space... I only have about 20 birds and their coop is 10 X 10 feet and 6 half feet tall. Lots of empty nesting boxes and perches.

    I have some good news. The last bird that was sick looked like it was going to die and now is 100 percent recovered and I did not do anything to help it. Now they are all healthy and acting normally.

    I have the 2 squabs in the nest... stopped all other breeding.... have to wait till they grow up and see if they get sick.

    Perhaps the survivors and birds that did not get sick are more resistant to whatever is going on.. and they will pass that resistance on in their genetics or immune system to their chicks.. hope so.

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